The 2019 Sundance Film Festival is officially in full swing out there in Park City, Utah, which means the battle to be the buzziest has begun. Next on the docket: Selah and the Spades, the first-time feature from writer/director Tayarisha Poe. Part of Sundance’s NEXT slate, the drama takes you inside an upscale Pennsylvania boarding school run ruthlessly by five factions: The Spades, The Sea, The Skins, The Bobbies, and The Prefects.
Lovie Simone (Greenleaf) stars as Selah, leader of the most dominant faction. Joining her in the cast is Gina Torres, Celeste O’Connor, Jharrel Jerome, Jesse Williams, and Ana Mulvoy Ten.
Check out the trailer below. Selah and the Spades makes its world premiere on January 27 at the Sundance Film Festival.
Here is the official synopsis for Selah and the Spades:
In the closed world of an elite Pennsylvania boarding school, the Haldwell, the student body is run by five factions. Seventeen-year-old Selah Summers (Lovie Simone) runs the most dominant group, the Spades, with unshakable poise, as they cater to the most classic of vices and supply students with coveted, illegal alcohol and pills. Tensions between the factions escalate, and when Selah’s best friend/right hand Maxxie (MOONLIGHT’s Jharrel Jerome) becomes distracted by a new love, Selah takes on a protégée, enamored sophomore Paloma (Celeste O’Connor), to whom she imparts her wisdom on ruling the school. But with graduation looming and Paloma proving an impressively quick study, Selah’s fears turn sinister as she grapples with losing the control by which she defines herself.
In her feature debut, writer/director Tayarisha Poe immerses us in a heightened depiction of teenage politics. This searing character study encapsulates just how intoxicating power can be for a teenage girl who acutely feels the threat of being denied it. Exciting newcomer Lovie Simone’s performance beautifully embodies both Selah’s publicly impeccable command and the internal fears and uncertainty that drive it.